Featured Ranked Companies
Below you can find all the winners from the 2022 Excellence Awards which celebrate the greatest achievements and innovations in the industry. The programme provides a platform to recognise the people and companies that are driving change.
Our programme is designed to highlight excellence within the sector by looking at a range of corporate activities including deals, business projects and company initiatives, both internal and in the community.
You can also download our full Awards & Rankings Report which includes all of this year’s rankings, as well as the awards winners, shortlists and company profiles.
Business Expansion is one of our largest categories and looks at the core functions of business operations within the sector.
This consists of any projects that have expanded the company’s Footprint in the sector, including: contract wins; launching in new territories; launching new product lines; the acquisition and expansion of facilities and real estate; acquisition of new machinery or other assets; improved logistics; partnerships; and significant staff increases.
Mondi wins the Business Expansion award due to a combination of significant product launches and investments. These include the development of products for the likes of Warmhaus, Henkel and Diamant Bicycles.
The company also invested in a recycling laboratory in Austria, an R&D facility in Germany and entered into development partnerships with EW Technology and Heiber + Schröder to develop a paper wrapping machine and an automated packer respectively.
- Ardagh Group
- Berlin Packaging
- ePac Flexible Packaging
The Environmental category aims to highlight companies that are undertaking projects that reduce their impact on the natural environment or contribute to its general health. With the effects of climate change becoming ever more obvious, corporations have a responsibility to update and change their practices to prevent further damage being caused.
This category includes any projects that have led or will lead to a significant reduction in a company’s environmental impact and carbon footprint. This can include changes to materials and manufacturing, supply chain reviews; reduction in energy use or switches to renewables; recycling initiatives; and carbon offsetting. The category also includes projects that contribute to the environment such as tree planting schemes and river cleaning.
Canopy wins the Environmental award following the launch of the EcoPaper Database, which is described as the world’s largest compilation of recycled and next-generation paper and packaging options available to brands and companies has expanded to include more than 1,100 listings to help companies find the most forest-friendly products.
The database also makes ‘superior ranked’ paper easier to identify, provides references to FSC codes where available, and includes a scan for coatings with ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in food service ware as well as food contact safety compliance.
- Repeats Group
- s.Oliver Group
- Stora Enso
- The Park
Financing recognises companies and institutions that have raised significant capital during the research period whether it be through corporate finance, the capital markets or fund raising.
This includes any significant raising of finance by a company within the sector, this can include corporate lending, funding rounds and equity and debt capital markets issues including share offers and bond issues. We will be specifically looking at high value deals; novel structures; and companies using (for them) new forms of financing such as high-yield bonds.
Neste wins the Financing award for securing a significant grant for the development of a chemical recycling project. The €135m from The EU Innovation Fund will be used to develop the Pre-treatment and Upgrading of Liquefied Waste Plastic to Scale Up Circular Economy (PULSE) project.
Through the project, the company aims to increase its annual pre-treatment and upgrading capacities to 400,000t. PULSE will also support Neste’s goal to process more than one million tonnes of waste plastic a year from 2030.
- Alliance to End Plastic Waste
- Emerald Technology Ventures
- Heriot-Watt University
- TemperPack Technologies
Innovation is the category with one of the widest scopes within the Excellence Rankings as it looks at novel new approaches in every area, from the fruits of research and development to novel new business practices. What all the ranked entities have in common is the demonstration of new concepts not just within their own business but in the sector as a whole.
The category includes any projects that demonstrate an innovative approach to the market. The category crosses over with many of our other categories and can include new products, novel product features, new business practices, new marketing and sales strategies and more.
Smurfit Kappa wins the Innovation award for notable product developments including the launch of AquaStop, a water-resistant and recyclable paper that forms part of the company’s TechniPaper portfolio. The product’s special coating makes it waterproof and suitable for a range of uses including e-commerce and packaging products, flowers, detergent and fruit and vegetables.
The product is part of the company’s Better Planet Packaging portfolio, which is focused on providing sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics.
- AMP Robotics
- Berry Global
- Garson Wines
- Mondi/beck packautomaten
- natural Abundance
- Smurfit Kappa
- Wipak UK
The Investments category looks at any significant financial investments into a company or its assets, specifically those investments that facilitate expansion of a company’s operations. This can be an investment by the company itself into its operations or by an outside investor be that another company, financial institution, private equity or venture capital firm.
EastMan wins the Investments award for an agreement signed with France for a $1 billion investment in a molecular recycling facility in the country.
The multi-phase project consists of a unit to prepare mixed plastic waste for processing and a methanolysis unit to depolymerise the waste. It will also include polymer lines that will produce high-quality materials for use in speciality, packaging and textile applications. To support France’s circular economy, Eastman will also develop an innovation centre for molecular recycling.
- Smurfit Kappa
This category includes organisations that have expanded their business operations by entering into significant mergers and acquisitions deals within the sector.
The category specifically looks at the acquisitions of whole businesses or stakes rather than asset transactions and deals must have been closed during the research period.
SIG wins the M&A award following its acquisition of flexible packaging company Scholle IPN, which produce a range of products including bag-in-box solution and spouted pouches. The €1.36bn deal not only expands the company’s production capability but also opens up opportunities in new markets like Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East and Africa for Scholle.
- Apollo Funds
- Stora Enso
The Marketing category recognises any significant marketing campaign launched during the research period that has led to an increase in revenue or company profile. We will be specifically looking at campaigns introducing new concepts, imagery or taglines and those that demonstrate imagination in their portrayal of the brand.
Immertia wins the Marketing award following the introduction of its AR-enabled product packaging technology Displai, a platform designed to turn regular product packaging into interactive, digitally enabled packaging.
Users can scan the product packaging using their smartphones and activate an AR overlay that can provide information, clickable links, animation, holograms and numerous other features. The platform can be used in a wide range of industries, including the manufacturing, health, food and beverage sectors.
- 360 Vodka
- Wana Brands/August Allen
The Product Launches category recognises companies that have launched notable new products or services into the market. This can include physical products, software as well as the launch of services and concepts.
We are specifically looking at novelty, including companies launching products into new areas or innovation in the product’s design, manufacture or marketing.
Footprint wins the Product Launches award following the introduction of its portfolio of bio-based packaging. Intended as a replacement for single-use plastics and foam, the products are based on plant-based fibre solutions that Footprint is currently delivering to individual food producers. The materials can be used for a variety of products including frozen food, ready-to-eat, dairy, meat and produce.
- Garson Wines
- Natural Abundance
- Smurfit Kappa
- Tetra Pak
- Waddington Europe
- Wipak UK
Research and Development
This category includes organisations that have demonstrated a commitment to the research and development of new products and/or new processes. This can include discovering or creating a unique material, transferring a research or technology development to practice, improving the performance of an existing product or creating a new simulation or design tools.
The category also includes companies that have made significant investments into their R&D processes.
DS Smith wins the Research and Development award due to its efforts in numerous areas of material research. Among the highlights is a project to research how fibres from seaweed can be used as a more environmentally-friendly way of making paper and cardboard. Seaweed fibres can also serve as a barrier coating and help replace plastics and petroleum-based packaging for food items.
Elsewhere the company is also exploring opportunities to create fibre-based cardboard and paper made from daisies, straw, cocoa shells and miscanthus. Both straw and miscanthus consume lesser energy and water than bio-based alternatives such as plastic when being made into packaging.
- DS Smith
- Heriot-Watt University
- Mondi/EW Technology
- Queens University Belfast
- The Sustainability Consortium
The Social category includes companies and institutions that have undertaken projects that have had a tangible positive impact on the communities where they operate. This can include anything from charity initiatives; sponsorship; community outreach; local business support and education initiatives.
The North London Waste Authority wins the Social award for its campaigning on single-use plastics. In 2022 the authority called on the UK government to enact a ban and also introduce a charge on coffee cups.
In a statement, the NLWA said that several plastics such as soft plastics and items made of composite materials, including takeaway coffee cups, are not recyclable. The organisation has also called on the government to legislate the overproduction of tricky-to-recycle plastics.
- North London Waste Authority
- Oceana Canada